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New coach, new field for softball team

The Raider softball team practices for the first time at its new home, Field No. 5, at Grandview Park last Thursday. First-year head coach Jim Revoir said a large group of volunteers has worked to get the field ready for the team's home opener April 13. Photo by Bob Burrows1 / 2
The four seniors on the Raider softball team this season are Maya Triebold, left, Lauren Hanson, Lexi Smith and Stephanie Little. The team opens the 2012 season Thursday, April 5, at Como Park. Photo by Bob Burrows2 / 2

New Raider softball coach Jim Revoir uses one word repeatedly when describing his thoughts about the program: Impressed.

From the players to the coaching staff and community and school support, Revoir said everything's coming together.

"It's been a good couple of weeks," he said about preseason practice. "The girls are working really hard. I'm impressed with the overall talent Hudson has compared to where I've coached in the past. There's enough overall talent here for us to field three solid teams."

Revoir, who took over after the retirement of long-time coach Dan Rasmussen at the end of last season, said he's been very pleased with the effort to rehabilitate Grandview Park's Field No. 5, located just east of the baseball field, where the team will play its home games this season. Volunteers have been busy putting in new infield dirt, a new pitcher's rubber, bases and fencing, in preparation for the team's home opener April 13.

"I'm happy and impressed with the support from the community," he said. "We've had a lot of volunteers helping us out with things. We're off to a good start, and the field is an example. We're trying to get a scoreboard and press box at some point. We have the approval, now we just need to get the funds. It's been a whole group effort."

On the field, Revoir will be assisted this season by Megan Blakeley and junior varsity coach Michele Johnson. Blakeley said she's also been impressed with how things are shaping up so far.

"You can tell they've put a lot of time in in the offseason," she said about the players. "They are really dedicated to it."

The Raiders return three All-Big Rivers Conference players from last year's team that finished with a record of 14-8--junior Kindra Witthus and seniors Lexi Smith and Maya Triebold.

Witthus earned All-BRC and All-District First Team honors and was named to the All-State Third Team as a catcher in 2011. She was the team's second-leading hitter with an average of .418 and led the team in doubles with six while hitting four home runs and driving in 23 runs.

Smith, a second team All-BRC pick, batted .371 and was the ace of the Raider pitching staff while Triebold batted .318 with two home runs and 19 RBI on her way to being named All-BRC honorable mention.

Revoir said plenty of players will see action during the season, including some with both the varsity and JV teams.

"We'll see where everybody fits in," he said. "We have a lot of depth, in the infield and the outfield. We'll find the right combination for games."

Hudson opens the season this Thursday, April 5, with a nonconference game at Como Park. The Raiders' home opener at Grandview Park's Field No. 5 is scheduled for Friday, April 13, at 5 p.m. against New Richmond.

"I'm looking to try and just play together, build cohesiveness, see what's there," Revoir said about the Raiders' first few games. "Our goal is to get 20 girls ready for the playoffs. As far as the season, we'll find different combinations and give our pitchers time to work and learn."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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